I traveled to Seattle for the first time seven years ago, my love affair with the city having begun well before then. I could blame Nora Ephron and her 1993 classic, Sleepless in Seattle, for making me fall head over heels in love with a place I knew only from its romanticized on-screen portrayal, or my affinity for moody weather. But let’s not point fingers.
I was grateful to be squeezed between two locals on the flight over, full of tips and must-sees for my inaugural visit. When I inevitably asked about the city’s reputation for rain, the woman to my right conceded that although yes, it did rain most days, it was usually only briefly in the morning or afternoon, preceded or followed by sun. Then, just as the lush green mountaintops and forest firs were coming into view below, she went on to say something I’ll never forget:
Besides, if we didn’t get so much rain, we wouldn’t have all of this.
All of this. No explanation was needed. I was surrounded by dense woods, trees whose lifespan far surpassed my own, and a mountain backdrop that was a refreshing change of scenery from the industrial landscape I’d left behind, all made possible by near year-round rainfall for which the city is famous.
The Emerald City is named so for a reason. Wildflowers adorn nearly every sidewalk, highway, and hillside, thriving in every season. While the deciduous trees shed their leaves in late autumn, there are far more evergreens whose foliage persists throughout the year, seemingly impervious to nature’s cycle of decay and regrowth.
It’s easy to forget that year-round greenery requires year-round rain. Without it, the Emerald City would cease to be what it is today. If we didn’t get so much rain, we wouldn’t have all of this.
Perhaps too, our lives’ green patches need a steady rainfall to flourish year and year again.
We’re not always good at forecasting the weather of our lives. Our days can bring a gentle drizzle or a sudden downpour. And often, before we see new blooms, a seed has already been planted, our roots already strengthened. The changing seasons of our surroundings are deeply intertwined, each gradually giving way to the next. Long winters prelude mild springs, and cherished summers come to pass.
Mother Nature prodigiously models for us how to meet adversity with a dose of optimism and trust that nothing is permanent; to persevere through all kinds of weather and emerge with a newfound hardiness. And yet, it can be difficult to follow her example. We fear change and the disruption it might create. We gravitate toward what feels familiar and therefore safe.
Consider the losses and setbacks that paved the way to where you are today. While certainly not what we hoped for, there’s no denying that they’ve shaped us as much, if not more so, than our successes and celebrations.
We don’t know what the next season of our life will bring or how long it will last. But we can learn to embrace the ebb and flow, to turn resistance into allowance and uncertainty into acceptance.
It hardly rained during my visit. Pacific Northwest summers are known for their dry spells, ameliorated by the sun’s extended stay with temperatures hovering in the mid-80s. Thirsty lawns turn to dusty hues of yellow and brown, patiently waiting for conditions to change.
Like the gardens that catch our eye, we need sun and rain in order to thrive. If you’re in a monsoon season, let in some light. If the sun is shining, be deliberate in your appreciation of all the goodness and beauty that surrounds you.
Whatever your current landscape, find comfort in all the forces that came together to make it so.